“No one is more surprised than I am,” I said to a good friend as she congratulated Jim and me on our recent engagement. I am amazed, stunned, and, of course, excited. Jim and I have watched God’s hand bring us together, slowly. We’ve known each other twenty-five years, with regular friendly contact for the past fifteen while married to our late spouses. But now, we are just getting acquainted with each other in this new relationship. We have taken time to get familiar with each other in our exclusive relationship. Are you single, dating, or waiting on your Boaz? Give yourself time. Give God time. Don’t force anything.
Max Lucado says, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for your Boaz is to draw close to God, spend time with Him daily, feed on His word, and talk to Him in prayer. Like getting into a serious dating relationship, we must be intentional and direct in our relationship with God. Someone once said, “If you fail to plan, you will plan to fail.” Figure out when you will meet, how you will meet and what the content of your meeting with God will contain.
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” Psalm 73:28
When Jim and I began dating, we visited my counselor, Dr. H Norman Wright, who recommended we work through his book 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Re-Married. It took us five months to answer the discussion questions. We worked through subjects common to marriage: schedules, finances, eating and recreational habits, family, holidays, ministry, and sex. Although we were both widowed and healing from the loss of our spouses, neither one of us looking for committed love, just companionship. At first we were guarded in sharing our feelings, not wanting a relationship to fill the empty spot only God can fill. So we became friends with caution, neither one wanting to fall into a superficial rebound relationship with another human being. We were merely looking to serve God and each other. Isn’t that what biblical love is all about?
What is true biblical, sacrificial love? God shows us His example in how He loves us. Love is giving, not getting, with God’s love being the basis and the example for the ultimate expression of our love. God gave His only Son. “For God so loved the world, He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”(John 3:16). The Lord Jesus Christ gave His life as a sacrifice on your behalf—”who gave Himself as a ransom for all men”(I Timothy 2:6). To demonstrate His love, Jesus served others even though He is Master” John 13:1 b. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love” John 13:5. “After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with a towel that was wrapped around Him.”
The Biblical Counseling Foundation defines “love in Scripture” as a “purposeful commitment to sacrificial action for another.” Commitment of the will is the anchor that grounds love, although powerful emotions may be part of the action, but the choice to love in a biblical manner is the hallmark of a disciple of Christ. It is how our Heavenly Father loves us. This love is expressed through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Think about your family members, friends, and co-workers God has placed in your life—do you love them through serving? Or are you giving to get? This is not biblical love. Each day God gives us opportunities to show His love, to love others through serving them. We don’t have to do it alone; we have the Holy Spirit’s power to infuse the love of God into us. “Because the one who is in you is greater than the One who is in the world” I John 4:4. Do you need help loving? Ask God for help; He can fill you with His love. “But he said to me ‘my grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness” I Corinthians 12:9. Choose to love God more than anyone else, and He will give you more love than you ever thought you were able to give. I love the example of Mother Teresa, who, as she served the poor in the slums of Calcutta, India, said, “I want to love God like He’s never been loved before.” Now that’s biblical, sacrificial love.